Jeff Patience sworn in to Alexandria school board, final revision of 2020-21 fiscal year budget approved

The vacant school board position was officially filled on Monday, May 17 when Jeff Patience took his oath of office.

Jeff Patience received a round of applause following his oath of office on May 17, 2021. Patience officially replaced Bob Cunniff on the Alexandria School Board, who stepped down in March to move closer to family. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Alexandria’s Jeff Patience has been an impactful community member over the years. Now, his presence will be felt on the Alexandria School Board.

At the board’s regular meeting on Monday night, May 17, Patience was sworn into the vacant seat. Patience is replacing Bob Cunniff, who stepped down in March to move closer to family. The board named Patience as the interim member at April’s meeting, but he couldn’t officially take office until 30 days from approval had passed.

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Patience is the senior vice president at Bell Bank in Alexandria. He has a daughter, Elise, who is a junior at Alexandria Area High School. His son, Ethan, graduated from AAHS in 2020 and currently attends the University of Oregon. Patience has been involved with several community groups, education committees and charitable organizations in Alexandria.

Final revised budget approved

Business director Trevor Peterson presented the highs and lows of the district’s final budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The district’s total revenue was $55.28 million, with expenditures reaching $55.01 million. These totals are increases of just under 10% from last year.


One of the losses consequential to the pandemic is revenue from tuition, fees and admission. The district lost roughly $87,000 from last year and down $178,000 from two years ago.

“Two years ago would’ve been the last full year as far as activities are concerned,” Peterson said. “Last year was cut a little bit short, and I think we all know the kind of impacts this year had on our district.”

General Education Aid makes up 59.7% of the district’s revenues for this fiscal year at just over $33 million. This is a 0.91% decrease from last year. However, total revenue increased by $4.98 million from the previous year and a $435,000 increase from the February revised budget.

Salaries were the most significant source of expenditures for the district at $32.48 million, increasing $2.2 million from last year.

The district saved money on its Runestone Community Center facility rental due to less ice time for hockey teams and also in state tournament costs. Despite a highly successful winter sports season from various Alexandria athletic programs, the district didn’t need to spend money on expenses such as hotels.

In totaling the revenues and expenditures, the district had a deficit of just under $15,000. The district has a fund balance of $9.82 million for the fiscal year. The board unanimously approved the final revised budget.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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